Corrective Jaw Surgery

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Update Date 12/05/2020 . 3 mins read
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Know the basics

What is Corrective jaw surgery?

A sagittal split osteotomy, commonly known as corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, is an operation to change the position of your lower jaw so your teeth can be aligned. There is a limit to how far your orthodontist can use orthodontics (braces) to move your teeth. Sometimes is not possible to complete the alignment of your teeth without improving the position of your lower jaw.

Jaw surgery is appropriate after growth stops, usually around age 13 to 15 for females and age 16 to 18 for males.

Why is Corrective jaw surgery performed?

Jaw surgery may be a corrective option if you have moderate to severe jaw problems that can’t be resolved with orthodontics alone. Your orthodontist should be able to align your teeth so they bite together in the best way for long-term stability. The appearance of your face should also improve.

You should know of other alternatives to this treatment. Your orthodontist can sometimes just use braces to straighten your teeth, but it is unlikely that your teeth will bite together properly. You will usually need a permanent wire across the back of your teeth or to wear a splint at night for the rest of your life to keep your teeth in place.

Understand the risks

What are the risks of Corrective jaw surgery?

Following the consultation with your surgeon, you will be given a summary of the procedure. The information provided is intended more to inform you, rather than to alarm you. The complications associated with the various drugs and medicines are too numerous to discuss in this page and perhaps you might discuss this with your anaesthetist who will meet with you, in hospital, before your operation.

General complications of any operation include:

  • Pain;
  • Bleeding;
  • Bruising and swelling of your jaw and mouth;
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound);
  • Blood clots.

Specific complications of this operation are:

  • Numbness of your lower lip;
  • The jaw not separating as planned;
  • Not being able to open your mouth fully (trismus) and jaw stiffness;
  • Infection of the plates and screws;
  • Numbness in one or both sides of the tongue.

It is important you understand the risks and complications before having this surgery. If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.

Know what happens

How do I prepare for Corrective jaw surgery?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic. You must discuss to your doctor about your recent medications, your allergies or any of your health conditions and before having an operation, you will meet your anaesthetist and plan your anaesthetic together. It’s important to follow the instructions about when to stop eating and drinking prior to surgery.

What happens during Corrective jaw surgery?

The operation usually takes about an hour.

Your surgeon will make cuts inside your mouth and may need to make small cuts on your cheeks. They will use instruments to separate your lower jaw. Your surgeon will move your jaw and fix it in the right position using plates and screws.

If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.


What happens after Corrective jaw surgery?

You should be able to go home after one to three days.

Most swelling and bruising will usually have settled after the third week.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Eat only soft foods for four to six weeks, gradually moving onto solid food only when you can chew comfortably.

You should be able to return to work after two to four weeks, depending on your type of work.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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